Opal first came to Pine Valley in 1981 with her daughter, Jenny Gardner, and opened a beauty shop, The Glamorama. Ex-wife of scoundrel Ray Gardner, she was in the Australian outback with new husband Ralph Purdy when she received word that Jenny had been killed.
Opal returned to Pine Valley in 1989 and teamed up with Palmer Cortlandt to break up the marriage of her son, Tad Martin, to his niece, Dixie Cooney. Palmerís ex-wife Daisy made the very tacky Opal over in a more polished image, and Palmer fell in love. The two were married and, despite Palmerís supposed sterility, son Petey was born on Christmas Day, 1992.
Opal and Palmerís marriage was put to the test when he strayed with Janet Green and she was tempted by Seabone Hunkle, but survived. More damage was done when Opal discovered that Palmer was hoarding priceless art treasures stolen from the Nazis. She wanted him to turn them over to the police, but he refused and went so far as to fake his own death, a scheme exposed by Tad and Dixie. Palmer was eventually forced to return the treasure by Adrian Sword, a government agent who had been tracking Palmer.
Adrian Sword turned out to be Opalís long lost son, (product of an affair with Frank Dawson) whom fear of Ray Gardner had forced her to abandon as an infant. Adrian also forced Palmer to give Opal 50% of everything he had in a divorce agreement, reasoning that without Opalís Purdified Chicken recipe sold at the Chicken Shack he would never have gotten his money back. Palmer moved into a suite at the Valley Inn, and Opal renovated Cortlandt Manor, reopening The Glamorama inside. Following in the steps of Cher and Madonna, she gave up her last name and goes simply by "Opal".